Archive for January, 2012

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Ego. I-go. We-go.

January 4, 2012

This blog has generally been me ranting/whingeing/telling the world what I think- a pattern which some might say is predominately negative. I’m not going to defend that- it’s pretty much the truth- but I am going to add a positive post in the hope that the balance is redressed somewhat.

You see, in the last few weeks things have started going well and as a result my outlook has improved. So much of what we do, how and why is based on our default outlook and if, like me, you try to see things from every angle (a trait that only reminds you how much of a minority positive results are) you tend to be a bit cynical and see things as being a bit of a struggle. And as an aspiring director this can seem like an impossible task. So many of my friends gave up on their aspirations once they percieved the difficulty involved- their outlook negatively affected their ability to achieve. It didn’t affect their ability to get into debt, have kids they can’t support or climb into a rut that they made for themselves, but I digress… The whole point of this post (that I’m flitting around like a fly on cat shit) is that when something good does happen you have to run with it and remember it.

I’ve been applying for lower-level directing jobs for months. The ones that carry stipulations of broadcast experience have to be largely ignored (unless I’m feeling particularly bold/confident/perjurious) but the ones that are just looking for collaborators are fair game. And I landed one. Granted, it’s not paid, but it’s a great project with a chance for good exposure and the experience of working on it will help my future job prospects. But the main thing I’m taking away from this and the main thing that’s got me more than a bit excited and positive is that I have been hired as a director by someone else for their project. It may not sound like much, but when you’re starting out, it matters a lot.

Say if you only ever direct your own projects- you’re the writer, the director and the producer. Maybe even the DP, editor and caterer too (budget permitting). These projects obviously show your style and skill but they don’t show how well you integrate with others. How well you work on a team. A team where, if you weren’t there, they’d find someone else. The fact that you’ve been chosen for the role is a big plus- something about you and your abilities has impressed someone and they want you to use those characteristics to make their project better. Burgeoning DoPs get this feeling all the time (although you have to convince yourself you’re not being hired because of all the lovely “free” camera equipment you have in the spare room), but directors don’t tend to get this until they enter the professional arena as a Working Director- the filmmaking equivalent of a “gun for hire.” Which is why I’m so chuffed at landing this job- it’s the recognition of my skill.

Although this has had a positive outlook on me and I feel like I can achieve things again, I can’t let it go to my head. Film production is full of egos and nothing can be more detrimental to producing good work or keeping the collaborative process collaborative. But I wanted to record this here, partly to show others that it can be done, but also that a positive outlook sometimes need a positive event to kickstart it. Even when things die down again, I want to be able to look back at now and realise that- a little reminder to stay positive and believe in what you’re doing.